Almost everyone has heard about Keto or seen people get magical weight loss results with the Ketogenic diet (more commonly referred to as Keto). If you are wondering what exactly the Keto diet is and how you can get started on Keto, or need some tips to make sure you are doing Keto right, you have landed at the right place!
Of late, this low-carb way of eating is hitting all the headlines for tons of pounds shed, even though it’s actually been around for quite some time. Originally designed as a way of eating for children with epilepsy, it has grown in the last decade or so into quite the weight loss and diet phenomenon!
In the simplest of terms, the Keto diet is a low-carb style of eating which causes the body to shift into a state of ‘Ketosis’. By limiting carbs, the body has no choice but to turn to a different (and more efficient) fuel source. The main objective in the Keto diet is to switch from using glucose as a fuel source and transition over to using ketones instead.
Ketones are produced in the liver by the breakdown of fat cells. Essentially, the body is burning fat for fuel in ketosis. The human body is very brilliant designed and when given the right tools, runs like a well-oiled (remember, oil is fat) machine!
How to Achieve the State of Ketosis
The metabolic state of Ketosis is achieved once you get started on Keto by maintaining a daily carbohydrate intake under 20-30 grams. It’s actually really simple. It only takes 24-48 hours of low-carb eating to shift the body naturally into Ketosis.
Now that Keto is so popular, every nutrition store has a variety of ketone-enriched supplements to push the body into ketosis faster, but for the average person using Keto as a weight loss plan, these supplements (called Exogenous Ketones) are completely unnecessary and quite frankly, a waste of money.
There is another huge marketing trend towards testing whether your body is in a state of Ketosis or not. These include Keto breathalyzers, blood tests and urine strips (similar to what the nurse uses when running a urinalysis), but these have thus far been highly inaccurate and are again, unnecessary. When you get started on Keto, the body gives signals when it is first in Ketosis, and it’s very easy (and advantageous) to tune in to your body to learn about the messages it is sending you.
Here are a few of the messages or indicators:
- Strong smelling urine
- Bad breath (like acetone or nail polish)
- Short-term fatigue and/or flu symptoms
- Appetite suppression
- Weight and Fat loss!
By allowing the body to enter Ketosis naturally, without artificial enhancements, one knows exactly what’s going in and coming out. Speaking of which, sometimes what’s coming out (at first) isn’t very regular. After all the body is used to years of eating complex carbohydrates and will naturally go through an adjustment period.
Keep in mind, more of what’s being ingested is being utilized by the body now so there’s less to evacuate. If the frequency gets concerning, please contact your health professional for advice.
The Bad Foods for Keto
It’s not a long list (like many probably fear). In fact, the guidelines are really simple.
Steer clear of these food groups:
- Starchy foods
- Low-fat and Diet products
The biggest key to being successful with the Keto diet is in taking on a more natural approach to eating. The more “real” the food, the better for you. A good habit to form is reading Ingredient Labels. Many items labeled “Diet” or “Low-fat” or “Heart Healthy” are riddled with sugars and carbs to make up for the taste.
The Good Foods for Keto
This is absolutely the best part of the Ketogenic diet! Below is a list of categories and a brief explanation of each:
- Protein. The best of the best is organic, pasture raised and grass-fed meat, seafood and cheese.
- Veggies. Lean towards leafy greens and veggies grown above ground. Underground veggies are typically high in carbs. Fresh or frozen, it doesn’t matter.
- Dairy. Full-fat dairy items.
- Fats & Oils. Always opt for a natural fat source. When necessary for cooking choose coconut, butter or olive oil.
- Nuts and Seeds. Fatty nuts like macadamias and almonds are great in moderation.
- Beverages. Water. If flavoring is needed use real fruit juices or flavorings using Stevia as the sweetener.
The Keto Macronutrient Ratio
Calculating the individual macronutrient ratio is based on current weight, health history and weight loss goals for that person. Macronutrients are carbohydrates, proteins and fats. Since the carb count is less than 25 grams daily, it should equal to no more than 5% of daily macronutrient intake.
There are a number of calculators available online to assist in calculating macros. Seeking the advice of a professional, like a certified nutritionist, is optimal but not always an option for some.
An individual macro ratio might be 5-10% calories from carbs, 55% calories from fats and 40% calories from protein. Depending on the caloric needs and weight loss goals, the actual grams of each macro will fluctuate. That is, except the carbs. Carbs should always be under 30 grams daily and some even go as low as 20 grams.
The Reality of Keto – What the Keto Diet actually is ..
Yes, cutting back drastically on carbs for a hard-core bread and pasta eater is going to be a challenge. The good news is for most people, the carb-cravings fade away after the first couple of weeks (sometimes earlier).
And of course, the rapid and efficient weight loss becomes a driving force in continuing with this new way of eating. And that’s exactly what the Keto diet is: A new way of eating!
This isn’t for yo-yo dieters or those just wanting to lose a couple pounds by next week. The Keto diet is a lifestyle change. And it is most definitely a change for the better!
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